Saturday, January 12, 2008
I have had the strangest and most visceral reaction to a minor news story this morning.
The sight of George Bush wearing a yarmulke and laying a wreath at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel, makes me sick to my stomach.
One would think I would be honored that the President of the United States is in tears while adding his tributes to the murdered Jews of 60 years ago.
But, I am not honored.
The skull cap is not a piece of costumery. The Yad Vashem is not a "foto op."
To any man or woman of conscience, this is a place of profound sorrow and holiness.
There is nothing of Mr. Bush that could be described as profound, except perhaps his complete lack of understand about most things human.
It was further reported that, flying back the America, Bush got into a discussion with Condaleezza Rice about why the US hadn't bombed Auschwitz.
He desecrates almost anything he nears.
Now, I can hear one of my favorite Rabbis disagreeing with me.
He would say, "I believe that it is always a good to expose any one to the realities and to let them see and remember what happened."
"Yes, I understand," I would argue, "but my opinion of Bush is so low, I believe him to be so false a construct, so inauthentic a person, such a force for bad in the world that he doesn't deserve the honor of this visit."
I know, I am not as good a person as my Rabbi. That's why I am me and he is my Rabbi.
Maybe If I had learned years later that Bush had gone to the memorial quietly and without fanfare, perhaps secretly, I could have thought more of him.
But to me, Bush is not just Bush. He is Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Blackwater-Iraq-No Health Insurance for Children...
I can't see this puppet without his masters and his misdeeds.
I don't want him pretending to be Jew-For-A-Day.
I don't want him at all.
November can't come soon enough.
Daphne Bramham was written one of the best and most comprehensive editorials I've ever read on the subject of the DTES.
Her conclusions about the neglect of all levels of government, while searching for a silver bullet solution, echoes exactly the conversation I had with a labour leader over lunch on Friday.
"What are the answers?" he asked.
I told him that the anwers are homes for the homeless and treatment for the addicted.
I explained that the Federal government, through CMHC, had stopped providing any real funding for housing almost 30 years ago. Put CMHC and the federal purs back into the game and housing could be built for so many homeless.
Treatment by fellow addicts and not by expensive and ignorant doctors could be up and running today at reasonable costs - less than $35,000/year/bed.
Read Bramham's column. It's spot on.
Posted by David Berner at 10:07 AM